September 3, 2018
When it comes to aesthetics, proportion is everything. Although most people aren’t conscious of it, they think of a beautiful smile as one that has a certain proportion of gum tissue to tooth structure. But many people lack these proportions and, as a result, either have a “gummy smile” or teeth that appear small or square-shaped. Fortunately, any of these scenarios can be dramatically improved from a procedure called crown lengthening, where a cosmetic dentist reduces the amount of gum that shows and increases the length of the teeth. This procedure can usually be done in just one appointment to reshape the gumline and reveal the beautifully proportioned smile that’s been there all along. Keep reading to learn more about why a crown lengthening procedure might be necessary and what you can expect!
Why Would Crown Lengthening Be Necessary?
There are multiple reasons why someone may have uneven or out-of-proportion gum tissue:
- Gum recession on one tooth that makes the adjacent teeth appear short
- A short or hyperactive upper lip
- Abnormal tooth eruption that involves the gum and underlying bone
What Is the Procedure Like?
Crown lengthening can usually be done in about an hour or less. Just as with other procedures like dental fillings, the first thing a dentist will do is make sure you’re completely numb and comfortable. Then the gum tissue will be carefully reshaped and stitches will be placed to assist in healing.
Also, in addition to being numbed with local anesthesia, some patients opt for a sedation option such as nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) or oral conscious sedation. Don’t hesitate to talk with your dentist about whether one of these options is right for you – your comfort is a top priority!
Also, the recovery process is easier than you might expect and happens in phases:
- First 7-10 days – For the initial healing phase, your dentist will recommend or prescribe a painkiller, as well as ice for any swelling. It’s a good idea to eat a fairly soft diet and brush carefully during this time until the stitches are removed in 7-10 days.
- 10-30 days – You’ll be able to eat and brush more normally at this stage, but will still want to treat the area gently.
- 30-90 days – Within 3 months, the gums should be 100% healed and the position of your new gumline will be stable.
Is Crown Lengthening Right For You?
If you’re interested in crown lengthening, the first step is to schedule a consultation so a dentist can evaluate your dental history and ask you about your cosmetic goals. They’ll also diagnose the cause of your gummy smile so they can plan the best treatment for you.
Crown lengthening can transform the way your smile looks. It can be used alone or in conjunction with another procedure such as whitening, but the end result will always be the same – a beautiful smile that you can feel good about!
About the Author
Dr. Jeff Wehrkamp is a general, restorative and cosmetic dentist who loves how dentistry allows him to use both art and science to give his patients the smiles they’ve always wanted. With decades of experience and advanced cosmetic training, he gives his patients outstanding cosmetic results. If you have any additional questions about crown lengthening, he can be contacted via his website or at (605) 582-6522.
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